SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — If you'd like to take a test that could show whether you've had COVID-19, Sanford Health is now offering antibody testing at many locations in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota, the health system announced Wednesday, July 29.

COVID-19 antibody testing is available for $65 and getting tested doesn't require prior approval from a doctor or an appointment. The antibody test is what's known as a direct access test, which means insurance is not billed and those who are tested are required to pay when they're testing.

The testing is available at 50 Sanford Health locations. The Sioux Falls-based health system includes nearly 500 clinics and 44 hospitals across the Upper Midwest, including major medical centers in Sioux Falls, Fargo, and Bemidji, Minnesota. Sanford first announced it was rolling out antibody testing in late April, as did Duluth-based Essentia Health.

Antibody tests, also known as serology tests, are not meant to determine if someone currently has COVID-19. Other testing, usually involving swabbing of the nasal passages, looks for the current presence of the virus. Antibody testing, which requires a blood draw analysis, will look for antibodies created by the immune system to fight the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

But there are a lot of caveats to antibody testing. If testing reveals the presence of antibodies, it's likely the test subject has had or been exposed to COVID-19. A negative test result indicates the person either hasn't had COVID-19, or recently had the virus and antibodies weren't created. And both false positives and false negatives are possible.

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Researchers are continuing work to determine the value of antibody testing, specifically open questions about the antibodies triggered by the virus, including how strong they are, how long they last and if they shield against reinfection.

Sanford Health is conducting its own research into COVID-19 antibodies, recently launching a year-long effort to study employees who have worked with COVID-19 patients and have volunteered to be part of the research.

Sanford labs can process more than 1,000 antibody tests a day, said Dr. Allison Suttle, Sanford Health chief medical officer.

“This is the next frontier in this ongoing battle against COVID-19,” she said in a news release. “The information gained will be helpful to individuals, and also the health care community as we continue to learn more about this new virus.”

For Sanford Health patients, test results are delivered to their My Sanford Chart within three to four days. Those without such an account will get their test results in the mail.

Where to get COVID-19 antibody testing

COVID-19 antibody testing is available at the following Sanford Health locations:

North Dakota

  • Sanford Health Jamestown Second Avenue Clinic
  • Sanford Health Wahpeton Clinic
  • Sanford Laboratory Bismarck
  • Sanford Health West Dickinson Clinic
  • Sanford Health East Dickinson Clinic
  • Sanford East Interstate Ave Clinic (Bismarck)
  • Sanford South Clinic (Bismarck)
  • Sanford State Street Clinic (Bismarck)
  • Sanford Health Highway 2 Clinic (Minot)
  • Sanford Health Northwest Clinic (Minot)
  • Sanford North Mandan Clinic
  • Sanford East Mandan Clinic
  • Sanford Southpointe Clinic Laboratory (Fargo)
  • Sanford North Fargo Clinic Laboratory
  • Sanford West Fargo Clinic Laboratory
  • Sanford Children's Southwest Clinic Laboratory (Fargo)
  • Sanford Medical Center Fargo
  • Sanford Laboratories Broadway Clinic (Fargo)
  • Sanford Neuroscience Clinic (Fargo)

South Dakota

  • Sanford Health Mitchell
  • Sanford Health Watertown Clinic
  • Sanford Aberdeen Clinic
  • Sanford Laboratories — Medical Building 2 (MB2) (Sioux Falls)
  • Sanford Laboratories — Rapid City
  • Sanford Clear Lake

Minnesota

  • Sanford Jackson Clinic
  • Sanford Health Broadway Clinic (Alexandria)
  • Sanford Clinic Canby
  • Sanford Health Detroit Lakes Clinic & Same Day Surgery Center
  • Sanford Bagley Medical Center
  • Sanford Bemidji Medical Center
  • Sanford Thief River Falls Clinic
  • Sanford Worthington Clinic
  • Sanford Bemidji Main Clinic
  • Sanford Bemidji- 1611 Anne St. Clinic
  • Sanford Bemidji Blackduck Clinic
  • Sanford Bemidji Walker Clinic
  • Sanford Bagley Clinic
  • Sanford Bagley Clearbrook Clinic
  • Sanford Bemidji Cass Lake Clinic
  • Sanford Health Kelliher Clinic
  • Sanford Health Park Rapids Clinic